SAN DIEGO — There are few places better than sunny San Diego for a drink atop a classy rooftop bar or restaurant, so it’s no surprise that two local spots are among Yelp’s best-reviewed in the U.S. and Canada.
Kettner Exchange, the Little Italy mainstay, and Lumi, an upscale sushi joint in the Gaslamp Quarter, each represent America’s Finest City on the list.
Yelp said the survey ranked rooftop bars based on a variety of factors, including the overall number of ratings and the positivity of those reviews. Bars in both the U.S. and Canada were considered, but chain locations were eliminated.
Longtime residents and local foodies are likely already familiar with Kettner Exchange, a fixture since it opened in 2014 right off busy Grape Street.
The aforementioned rooftop features stunning harbor views, with open-air seating and private cabanas that parties of up to 15 people can reserve. You could pay a premium to do so: Drink and food minimums for those private spaces reach up to $800, depending on the number of people and time of day.
You don’t have to do that, of course, but we do recommend a reservation if you’re going for brunch or dinner some day soon. Kettner Exchange boasts a creative, rotating menu of American fare with some global twists.
“If you’re in the mood for good vibes, great-tasting, shared-style cuisine, fun drinks, and a live DJ all on an open-air rooftop, Kettner is your place!” wrote Yelp reviewer Mark M. “Top tip – for a sundown experience, make a reservation between 5pm and 6pm. You’ll be able to experience the rooftop as the day turns from day to night.”
Lumi is a more recent addition to the San Diego dining landscape, and its highly anticipated opening was interrupted in part by the coronavirus pandemic. It quickly built a reputation, however, with fresh sushi and other innovative dishes at a stunning locale. The restaurant’s rooftop hoists you above the busy Gaslamp Quarter in a space defined by Japanese architecture and modern design elements
“Delicious sushi, great music spun live from a DJ, and perfect service,” wrote Yelp reviewer Justin M. last month. “Nightlife, delicacies, and a downtown view.”
Like any downtown hotspot, it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation there, too.
Check out Yelp’s complete, unranked list of the top 10 rooftop bars in the U.S. and Canada on their blog.